About Me

My photo
I'm a glass-half-full type of girl. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease in 2010 and life-altering allergies in 2013. I believe having a positive attitude is the only way to live with dis-ease. I also believe that life doesn't have to be PERFECT for it to be WONDERFUL. Dis-ease is expensive, so I live a frugal yet healthy lifestyle. This is just my blog; my day-to-day story.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kitchen Appliance Rehab Needed.

If you guys read my blog, you likely know something about me- I am an avid cooker and as such, I LOVE, LERRRRRVE, kitchen equipment. I love my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I love my Le Creuset bright red pans, each and every one of them. I love my new(er) convection oven, and even my kickass food scale. And now I have another exciting edition to the family. “She” is something I’ve wanted for YEARS. “She” is something I could never ever have afforded, had she not suddenly made a surprise appearance on QVC, available on a monthly payment plan. She was offered in black, white, dark grey, royal blue, and red. Without further ado, please let me introduce you to my new…..VITAMIX BLENDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so proud of her that I almost have tears.

You see, a pretty girl like her will run you about $550, yep, that’s right. I figured I would never be able to buy one in this lifetime. But now I own one, and she proudly sits on my counter next to Miss Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I chose black to match all of my other appliances. My pans are red, but all my appliances are black with stainless steel. She fits right in. She makes soups, ice cream, smoothies, juices, dips, marinara (apparently), and anything else you want to make.

If you aren’t too familiar with Vitamix blenders, I can tell you that most smoothie/juice bar chains use them, like Jamba Juice, etc. Vitamix blenders are numero uno in the industry for having the fastest, strongest motor and highest in durability and reliability. Each one is handmade in Ohio and they carry a lifetime guarantee on them. If it ever malfunctions on you, you can send it in for repairs FOR FREE, and THEY PAY THE SHIPPING BOTH WAYS. THAT’S how badass they are.

And don’t get me wrong- these things make way more than just smoothies. It comes with a 2 or 3 inch thick recipe book of all the meals you can make in it…in literally seconds or minutes.

Tonight I made lasagna. And I got to use the Vitamix again. You see, I made my marinara for the lasagna from scratch. I first let the onions, garlic and fresh basil slowly cook in the Le Creuset saucepan, then added the diced tomatoes and let them simmer for a while. Then I dumped the whole pan into the Vitamix, and in less than 3 seconds (literally), I had instant, perfect textured, smooth marinara sauce. DeLISH.

Okay okay enough about my kitchen supply obsession. It’s just that it makes me so happy!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Choosing between your diseases.

Eating out can be quite the challenge these days. Finding a place that serves a healthy, diabetic-friendly meal is easy. Finding a place that serves a healthy, diabetic-friendly meal that is also gluten free is a different story. I find that I usually have to choose between which of my diseases I will accommodate, and because finding anything gluten free to eat at restaurants can be so much of a challenge and I usually have to settle for whatever gluten free options I can find, diabetes usually loses.

After searching online forever, I finally found a sort of "fast food" type restaurant that had gluten free options-- Red Robin. It is a restaurant chain that I've never eaten at. I did sacrifice the guidelines of a diabetic-friendly meal in lieu of finding something -- anything-- gluten free. You see, while diabetes has food "guidelines," celiac disease has food "requirements" with no room for error. And not adhering to the diet has severe, immediate, and long term consequences. Eating even trace amounts (we are talking less than a crumb here, for those of you who aren't celiac) of gluten causes severe damage internally.

It was my first restaurant hamburger since July 2010. It was the first "fast food" I've had since then, too. I had a gluten free cheeseburger with bacon on it and guacamole (delish) and a side of french fries. These were also the first french fries I've had since my July 2010 celiac diagnosis. I ate it all, the whole burger, fries, all of it, and damn near licked the plate it was so good. Afterwards I felt like a bloated blob. And my diabetes punished me for eating it, as well, for the next 4 hours. I hovered in the 200mg/dl area for a long time, even though I bolused well in advance of the meal, and after it.

I wish I didn't have to choose between accommodating one disease over another when it comes to eating out. But the food requirements can be so vastly different between a diabetic diet and a celiac diet, I often times have little choice in the matter.

There are so many days when I wish I just had diabetes and not diabetes with celiac. It puts an extra burden on my shoulders and makes managing my diabetes even more difficult.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I won't be eating my hair today, & extra love to my peeps with big D and Celiac.

I write a lot about the diabetes side of my life. Diabetes is time consuming and super scary at times. But I am also constantly reminded that I have another monkey on my back to deal with daily, and it's called Celiac Disease. It's already a challenge to find food sans wheat/barley/rye/oat, and trying to find health and beauty products is really really not easy, either.

While some Celiacs are able to 'wear' gluten, meaning it's ok if it's in their shower gels/shampoos/body care (as long as they don't accidently ingest any of it), I have severe skin irritation from wheat, so I am not able to use products that have any wheat/wheat derivative in it. I've been wondering for a while why my head has been so scratchy, and why I keep getting itchy, red bumps on the back of my neck (that for the life of me I can't leave alone)... is it the Minnesota winter? The dry air? Fragranced lotions? Too many highlight/lowlights, too frequently? Maybe it's because I'm blow drying the hell out of my hair everyday?

I knew my shampoo and conditioner were both gluten free, so it couldn't be that. But one thing I had not checked, and turned out to be the culprit, is my volumizing spray. If you can see in the ingredients picture(I apologize for the blurry 5am iPhone picture this morning, my iPhone would NOT cooperate with the auto focus), dab smack in the middle of the ingredients is triticum vulgare WHEAT FLOUR. Good grief. How could I have not checked this product before? Depressed, I reluctantly set it in the garbage can. Sigh. Now to find a volumizer I can use that doesn't have wheat in it (no small task and seemingly impossible).

It sometimes feels like a full-time job trying to manage my auto-immune diseases. Diabetes ranks #1 as most time consuming, but Celiac Disease takes a close second place. I don't get a vacation from either one. In fact, these two diseases tag team to make an ACTUAL vacation nearly impossible. Think it's a pain to travel with the big D? Well, add on trying to get gluten-free food through security at an airport (not to mention the hassle of having to pack an extra cooler to carry around with your food in it, in addition to all of the other bags), or risk not having a SINGLE food option at the airport, during the flight, and at the airport you are about to land at. The last time I flew, it wasn't my diabetes equipment that got pulled me out of line by security for 30 minutes. It was the jar of unopened, gluten free peanut butter in my carry on. As they assessed several food items I had packed, I had to produce a letter from my doctor showing this food was a medical necessity, because as a diabetic I NEEDED to have food options, and having Celiac Disease prevented me from having any safe food options at the airport or on the airplane.

Road trips aren't much easier, because with usually few or no food options along the roadsides, I have to pack food for the ENTIRE road trip in a cooler in the car. And if it's a camping trip with friends, then I can also plan on packing my own grill (can't use other people's due to cross contamination), food, cooking supplies and my own storage containers.

There's a reason I recently upgraded to a crossover vehicle from a small car, and it had everything to do with being able to fit everything I need to pack for trips.

I just wanted to give out special shout out today to all my friends who deal with Big D, or with Big C (Celiac), and an EXTRA special hug to those today who deal with the double trouble (Big D, Big C). For all that each of us deals with daily, all the different trials each of us face. High five.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just a short note cuz I'm at work.

Well, this is always an awesome way to start your day. This is how mine started on Monday morning. The sugar monster apparently visited sometime during the morning. This was after a long night of low lows, the you-don't-get-much-sleep-all-night lows. Sometimes you just get caught in the blood sugar swing, for no apparent reason. What I was most upset about is that I didn't even get to enjoy an activity that brought it that high. If my bg is going to go that high, I'd like it to be after I've done something entirely enjoyable, like ate an entire pan of cupcakes.

I also wanted to follow up on my sugar scrub experiment. After covering myself with at least 3 cups of sugar mixed with honey and milk from head to toe (hello carb, carb and carb), my blood sugar didn't go up at all. Which leads me to wonder even more the theory that everything you put on your skin goes into your bloodstream. I'm going to have to research that some more.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Is It True...

This week, on the ABC daytime show The Revolution, a physician made the comment that everything you put on your skin is absorbed directly into your bloodstream, so one should be careful about the chemicals in the lotions and soaps that she uses. She said 'If you wouldn't eat it, don't put it on your skin.' During the episode, she gave the recipe for an all natural face mask, which called for milk, honey and lots of white sugar. (I wanted to write their show and ask that since no one would really eat a bowl of sugar, should we not put THAT on our skin?) The instructions were to mix it up into a paste, put it on your face, and let it sit for 15 minutes.

So as a diabetic, I began to wonder about her earlier comment. If it is true that everything you put on your skin goes into your bloodstream, does that mean that this sugar-laden, high carb mask would get into my bloodstream and make my blood sugar soar? Would she not advise this face mask for diabetics?

Always cursed with natural curiousity, I decided to try it. Ten fold. I put the mask all over my entire body, head to foot, and stood up in the tub for 15 minutes. Then I rinsed.

I must say, my skin IS softer, like, A LOT. But I'm curious to see what happens with my blood sugar. I might have the idea behind it all wrong. But either way, it gave me something to do tonight. I will say that my post-rinse off-shower blood sugar was over 200. But that could be residuals from my higher carb dinner. So if I wonder if I'll have any unusual high readings tonight? More to come...

Friday, February 10, 2012

I feel like I've been spanked.

I saw a dermatologist this week, hoping she would have answers for me. I wear an omnipod insulin pump, and the site change is every 3 days. The problem is, I have such HORRIBLY sensitive skin, that my skin doesn't react well to adhesive, especially when it comes time to take it off. My sites are swollen, red, and ITCHY. For DAYS. Until they eventually scab over, and then it's time to put the pod there again (I rotate sites). And I don't like the idea of putting a pod with super adhesive on skin that hasn't completely healed yet.

The derm recommended I use Vanicream or CeraVe cream to help heal those sites without irritation that can sometimes come with other lotions laden with either fragrance or are unscented but loaded with chemicals. So I went to Walgreens and bought one of each, to see which one I like better. So far, they are both awesome.

But anyway, back to the problem. I don't have any sites that AREN'T currently scabbed over, (which is why I haven't been wearing my CGM for a while), so I had to find a new spot. In comes the bum. The bum is one place I have never worn a pump.

And now I know why. When I first put it on, it was like, Wow, this is GREAT! I don't even FEEL it! But after one day, ouchie. My butt HURTS. I feel like I've been paddled. The burn/sting that won't go away. And a sort of pinch every time I bolus. Sitting down is fine, laying down is not fine. Doing side leg lifts on the floor- fine, doing crunches- not fine. Not sure I'm gonna put one on the other cheek tomorrow, when the site change is due. Sorry scabbed over arm/side/upper back/stomach, you're just going to have to deal with it.

I'll just keep using the creams and hope it helps heal the other sites up before it's their turn.

Anyone know how to heal up those areas more quickly???

P.S. I didn't enclose an image like I usually do for a post, because you can't imagine the images that came up when I googled "spanking" or "spank." #NotSoonForgotten.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sometimes you gotta save your own life.

Sometimes you gotta save your own life.

Do you believe in miracles? To what degree do you think you are capable of healing yourself? Do you think that how you think could be affecting your ability to feel better than you feel today?

There have been a lot of people I can credit with saving my life through 3 life-altering auto-immune disease diagnoses and two heart surgeries. There’s the 3 endocrinologists I saw, the nurses, diabetic educators and dieticians, the 3 gastroenterologists, the 2 cardiologists. It’s not easy to keep this girl healthy.
But do you know who I give the most credit to? I give credit to a woman I’ve never met, whose documentary I had seen years before I had been diagnosed with any diseases. Her name is Kris Carr. Maybe you’ve heard of her. Back when I began following her in 2007, nobody knew who she was. Now-a-days, it seems most people know of her. She became “famous” when she created a documentary about her cancer diagnosis; a cancer with no known cure or treatment. A woman whom most of the nation’s most credible physicians say she essentially cured herself.

I read all of Kris’s books and really admired her for her zest for life and her spirit, and her never-give-up mentality. After my 3rd auto-immune disease diagnosis in July 2010 and on the verge of being diagnosed with a 4th, I dug out all of her books and started taking notes. My immune system was on an acute attack- attacking itself- and there wasn’t a doctor on the planet that could stop it. I had literally been told there wasn’t anything that could be done to stop my immune system from attacking and killing off all of my organs. Being on the cusp of a 4th auto-immune disease diagnosis, I realized the wait-and-see approach wasn’t going to work; I was going to die if I didn’t do something.

Not knowing where else to turn, I started taking notes from Kris’s books, which focused on clean eating and lifestyle management (getting rid of “stinking thinking” is what she liked to call it). I knew needed a full mind cleanse; I needed to believe I had the ability to turn things around. I knew I had to try something to calm my immune system DOWN. I started seeing a wellness dietician (a wonderful woman who was a master’s program graduate from the Univ of Michigan) and started eating an immune-system calming diet, which included cutting out sugar (even the good kinds) and eating only certain whole foods. I ate the same foods every day. I started meditation at home, reading ONLY positive thinking books and watching ONLY positive thinking tv (I stopped watching just about everything, try finding “positive” things on tv!). Anything that was toxic in my life, from food to people to reading material was OUT.

And when I told my doctors what I was doing, they looked at me with puppy-dog eyes and heads tilted to the side, as if to say “poor girl; she thinks she can do something about this.” A few doctors didn’t even try to pretend; they flat out told me that what I was doing wouldn’t help.

But guess what, they were wrong.

After a full year of declining health and poor blood work results (blood work that was tested every 3-4 weeks for an entire year), I decided to make some changes. And after one full month of turning my life upside down with diet and lifestyle changes, my blood work came back CLEAN. Absent of auto-immune disease markers. For the first time in a year, all tests for new diseases came back negative and even my doctors were nothing short of amazed. I was just told again last month in January during my visit at the Mayo Clinic that still, almost two years later, I am the only patient they have seen like me; that had 3 auto-immunes diagnosed in a 5-month period; a patient whose severe blood work markers, present for a year, literally disappeared.
Nobody has to prove to me that there is a God. I believe in miracles. And I also know that what YOU believe you are capable of, and what your body is capable of, affects your healing. Garbage in, garbage out!

I know everyone has their beliefs but mine is that we have the power to change our health. Maybe that won’t always come in the form of a complete cure, but maybe in the form of improvement and prevention. I’m wondering if anyone else believes the same way.

Sick Peeps.

No, not that kind of peep. I'm talking about the peeps that sit in the cube cages next to you at work. You know, the ones with the semi-short walls and ugly fabric. And more specifically, I'm talking about when those peeps come to work SICK. In a word, STOP IT. If you are hacking your brains out, blowing your nose incessently, have no voice, and saying you have a fever, don't come to work. WE, YOUR COWORKERS, DON'T WANT YOUR FUNK. And if you need a couple reasons to justify staying home, I have a couple for you. Firstly, I don't think a 'coughing net' that I can put over my cube has been invented yet. In which case, all your nasty cough-germs are coming over my short-walled cube and landing on my head. Second, I think I could get charged with assault (or at the very least, fired) if I attacked you with a forced Clorox wipe wipedown. Third, I am diabetic. What is an annoying 3-day cold for you could turn into a nuclear blow out for me, which could include it turning into a cold that lasts TWO OR THREE WEEKS, accompanied by unmanageable high blood sugars, extra doctor visits, and ultimately, maybe if I'm lucky, a nice stay at the hospital.

So please, ppl, STAY HOME.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Today is a new day, according to Joel Osteen.

I woke up this morning and read my devotional before I even got out of bed. I was curious what today's would say, being that today is special to me. It's my 2nd anniversary for type 1 diabetes. I'll hold this daily devotional entry close to my heart today. Today is a new day, indeed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Happy 2nd Dia-versary to me, and now time to move forward.

2 years ago on this day (2/6/10, day before the Superbowl), my life changed forever. 2 years ago at this very moment, I was lying in a hospital bed, falling in and out of sleep and in and out of disbelief. I woke up in shock, all night, as nurses would wake me every few hours to poke needles in my stomach to inject insulin, and poke my raw fingers with large, thick, hospital-grade lancets. Still in disbelief and denial, I would secretly throw away the pills they tried to give me (vitamins, potassium and iron). They said I had deficiencies and I hated them for it. I hated everything about being there. I didn't want anything from them, I just wanted to wake up from the nightmare.

I try to recall everything about that day, but I don't remember the little things, like the weather, or what I woke up thinking about that morning. I remember getting up late after a long night of being ill and around 3:00pm sitting at a coffee shop, calling my sister and mentioning I hadn't been feeling well all week. And that's the turning point. From there on out, I remember EVERYTHING about that day.

Today, I keep looking up at the clock. I was sure I'd greet today with a smile and sense of accomplishment, but instead I've been a little sad. Because when I woke up on February 6, 2010, I didn't know that my life was about to change. I had no idea what I was about to walk into. I look back on myself and I want to warn her, then comfort her, tell her it's going to be a tough road that wouldn't be ending anytime soon. It plays over and over in my mind. I just want to rip my pump off and prove to the world that I can function JUST FINE without it. I want to prove to myself that I don't need this.

My doctors say I can live a "normal" life with diabetes. What do they define as "normal?" This isn't normal. I still remember "normal" and it was nothing like this. Normal is waking up and eating whatever the hell I want all day without thinking about it. Normal doesn't involve needles. Normal was spending $300 on a handbag, not test strips. And if one more diabetes educator tells me this is my "new normal" I might punch her in the throat. If you are diabetes educator reading this, please don't do that. For God's sake, just admit that this ISN'T normal, but that it just is what it is. The last thing we need is to question our sanity on top of having to deal with the 'betes hourly.

Alright, I got that off my chest. And I'm sorry, that was a complete rant. I actually do feel better. Maybe now I can accomplish today what I set out to do, focus on my accomplishments over the last two years and set goals for the next.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some celebrating to do.